Sunday, December 23, 2007

Songwriting 101

Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte, My Chemical Romance, pay attention. If you wanna be remembered 30 years from now, you gotta learn to write memorable songs -- not songs that provide the background music to The Hills or My Super Sweet 16, but songs that mean something -- songs that make think back to the time you picked up your junior prom date in your parent's station wagon, or the first time you smoked a cigarette in your hebrew school parking lot, or a road trip to the beach after high school graduation. I could be wrong, but if "Dance Floor Anthem" is that song of the younger generation, they're fucked.

Example 1:

Down By The Seaside - Led Zeppelin

Intro: 12/8 time (0:01 - 0:19) Page's mellow-chorus/tremolo effect on guitar setting the initial rhythm of the song;

Verse 1-2: (0:20 - 2:08) Plant's simple, but heartfelt lyrics along with Jones's accompaniment on the Mellotron and Fender Rhodes;

Mid-section: 4/4 time (2:09 - 3:01) Old-school Bonzo wailing on drums, hard-driven guitar and anthemic groove by all members (including the classic line: "Do you still do the twist, do you find that you remember things that well?");

Verse 3: (3:02 - 3:43) Back to 12/8 time;

Guitar solo: (3:44 - 4:06) Jimmy's descending delta blues-style guitar riff;

Verse 4 through outro: (4:07 - 5:15) Repeat above.

Take notes. This is how to write a song. It never gets old.

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